Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Orange In My Stocking

It's going to Marvin's and getting the best tree you can find. It's discovering the perfect spot for your favorite ornament.

It's sweeping up pine needles for 25 straight days.

It's the huge tree in the Belk parking lot. It's Christmas in Dixie and The Redneck 12 Days of Christmas on the radio, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas on TV.

It's the Story A Day 'Til Christmas book, with one story to read each night until Christmas Eve.

It's the train depot decorations and the manger scenes in front of every church.

It's Christmas Eve candlelight services. It's driving around town looking at lights, with an occasional glance in the sky in hopes to see Santa Claus and his sleigh.

It's cookies and hot chocolate, singing carols next to the tree while mom plays piano and dad plays guitar. 

It's dad reciting "The Night Before Christmas" before you go to bed. It's saving the most beautifully decorated cookies for Santa, and putting out carrots for his reindeer carefully placed next to your Christmas list.

It's waking up on Christmas morning at 4AM, checking out your loot, then playing board games with your brother and sister until 6AM to pass the time (because that's the earliest mom and dad say you can wake them up!)

It's the apple and orange that's in your stocking every year. It's taking turns opening gifts, and a floor full of wrapping paper and ribbon.

It's putting on your new Christmas clothes. It's mom's egg casserole for breakfast and bringing out the good china for Christmas dinner--complete with ham and scalloped potatoes, surrounded by family and friends.

It's Christmas tradition.

This year may you be blessed with traditions new and old, and enjoy the magic this season brings-- whether you're 9 or 99!

Monday, December 19, 2011

'Tis The Season

In my very first blog post I made mention of the fact that I am a restless human being, jetting around participating in random activities, and can never sit still. I keep my schedule consistently full because I don't know how to not be busy, and maybe in some way like to see how far I can take myself.
As a matter of fact, this personality trait is one of the main reasons for the name of my blog - because I'm always on the run.  

Get it?!?! 
I know, I know, I should have gone into comedy.

So anyway, Christmas allows me to go into full beast mode and be completely psycho and fully engulf myself in new projects and decorating the house and baking goodies.

Exhibit A: Learning How to Sew

When I was little my mom hand made a good bit of our clothes. She sewed all of our Halloween costumes and made all of our Easter dresses. I have fond memories of going to Wal-Mart and picking out patterns and fabric (seriously, where was Project Runway in 1989?!). If our jeans got a hole in them (we all know how graceful I am, so that was often) mom would sew a patch in the knee with a fun colorful fabric.

 For whatever reason, I never took interest in learning how to sew at the time. Present day I have kicked myself in the pants for not sitting down with my mom for just 10 minutes to learn how to read a pattern and operate a sewing machine.
After becoming a member of Pinterest and wasting the hours away browsing the web's countless Christmas projects and getting inspired (which means seeing about 100 things I wanted to make that required knowledge of sewing) I made the decision that it was time to learn. 

So I took my first class, just in time for the holidays!

I made a wine bag, and learned how to thread, stitch, wind a bobbin, and make a button hole. 


Needless to say, this has opened up a whole can of worms in the creativity realm - don't be surprised if you get homemade gifts for the next 10 years.

Exhibit B: Decking the Halls

I'm the sap that loves putting up the ornaments on the tree while Christmas music is playing in the background, and hanging the stockings by the fireplace, and putting lights and outdoor ornaments on our palm trees outside (yea I live in Florida, we don't have Douglas Firs here so we make do). 

In typical DIY -Martha Stewart - Pinterest mode, I made my own rag wreath for the front door, made the tree topper with ribbon that I found on clearance last year, and am in the process of making my own tree skirt (in the process meaning I have the materials but haven't done anything with them yet).

I also put together this cute little guy below for the 1st Annual Christmas Tree Challenge at work -- each department received a tree and had a $20 budget to decorate.

Oh yea, I was all over this project like white on rice.

Can of white spray paint : 97 cents 
Can of fake snow spray: $2.99
Styrofoam head: $1.99
Styrofoam balls for buttons: $1.99 
Eyes and mouth (glued on river rocks): $2.99
Nose (glued on fake carrot): 99 cents
Arms: free, compliments of my backyard 
Hat and Scarf: free, previously owned 

I was $7 under budget -  I think I should get bonus points.

Exhibit C: Baking 
How To Make a Cake

My mom somehow managed to make everything from cut-out Christmas cookies to Divinity to Fudge to Gingerbread around the holidays. We always had at least 5 home baked goods readily available for our gluttonous pleasure.  While I have not mastered baking in multiples, I have been able to pull together some  pretty cute Christmas foods for various purposes, such as the Santa bread that I found on TasteOfHome and these adorable Santa Hat Brownies I made from the inspiration of 

The challenge with the bread was finding someone to initially cut into it. We all felt bad taking a knife to his beard. Sorry, Santa.

I hope everyone enjoys their last 6 days before Christmas ....I'm anxiously awaiting Saint Nick's arrival with a spatula in one hand and a pair of scissors in the other! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Show Me The Money

It's that time of the year.

The time when my bank puts a hold on my funds for "suspicious activity" because I purchase 4 different things from amazon in the same day, and the time when I somehow spend over $100 on decorations for the house, yet walk out of Michael's with only a couple small bags of stuff in my hand.

It's the time when I call the same client every hour to make sure they got that contract, "just in case" something was wrong with the email server or it ended up in junk mail.

At some point in my life, everything in the month of December began to center around money: saving it, spending it, collecting it. 

At work, there's anticipation of what the final numbers will be for the year - it's all about dollars, whether it be personal and team quotas or rates or revpar indexes.  I feel pretty confident that we'll make and exceed the anticipated production number and pull off an awesome year. Even if it means  camping out by the fax machine (which conveniently always decides to malfunction at the end of the month) or checking email every two minutes.

No! Not again! Why does it say paper jam when there is no paper jam!

Personally, I've been getting by pretty well and saving myself some green so far thanks to free shipping and discount coupons. All gifts (with the exception for maybe 1 or 2) have been bought. I did all my shopping online and even splurged on Black Friday and bought myself a laptop of my very own! It even has Windows 7! (I know, I'm so two thousand and LATE). Prateek will be excited to not have to share his Mac Air anymore, and I'll finally be able to download ridiculous amounts of house music and maybe even some audio mixing software in my quest to become a world famous DJ. The possibilities are endless.  

Surrounding all of this holiday "cheer", I have also gotten extremely antsy. Mostly due to the fact that I've been in hibernation and haven't gone for a run in over a month. It was nice to take some time off, but I've had enough and am starting to feel a little squishy. 

So this week is the last straw....I am going for a test run to see how my knee feels. Barring any setbacks, I'm jumping back in the saddle with full force: long runs and workouts and yoga and gym time and spinning and resistance training and hill training and speedwork and....

 There are so many good half marathons coming up in the beginning of 2012 that I need to get it in gear. Plus, winters in Florida are FABULOUS to run in, so I refuse to miss out!

I know all my friends and family can't wait to deal with "Marathon Mary" again. Sorry in advance. But if you're lucky, you'll have the privelage of seeing this look of pure (frightening) joy once more:

Also since it's Thursday, I'll leave you with a thought: 

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Son's First Hero, A Daughter's First Love

5 years ago today, on December 5, 2006, I lost my hero, my first love, my Dad.

I posted about my Dad and his story back in June on Father's Day- you can read it here in full. 

I miss him every day, but this is one of those days where you wake up and look at the date and it hits you out of nowhere. 

PS - He was also a huge Bama fan, and I can't help but wonder if he had any say in the BCS rankings yesterday! Even as an Auburn fan it makes me smile to think about it :) 

My goal today is to celebrate his life, because oh, what a life he lived!

In memory of Roy H. Malone: